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Did Nigerian court order MTN to pay user N5.5 Million for unlawful deduction of N50?

3 mins read

Claim: A WhatsApp message claims that a Nigerian court has ordered Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) to pay one Emmanuel Anenih N5.5 million for unlawfully deducting N50 from his airtime. 

The claim is True. In 2020, an FCT High Court ordered MTN to pay Emmanuel Anenih N5 million for disturbing his peace and N500,000 for legal expenses, making it a total sum of N5.5million 

The claim shared on WhatsApp 

Full Text 

A WhatsApp message has been circulated on a group chat and privately to individuals that a Nigerian, by the name Emmanuel Anenih, had won a suit against MTN for unlawful deduction of N50 from his airtime for unsolicited caller tunes he did not subscribe to. 

Armed with the information, some WhatsApp users are claiming that they would sue the telecommunication service provider to claim money in millions, as they also experience such.

The WhatsApp message posted reads: “So a Nigerian by name Emmanuel Anenih took MTN to Court for unlawfully deducting 50 naira from his airtime in the name of unsolicited caller tunes he never subscribed to? An Abuja High Court found MTN guilty and ordered it to pay Emmanuel 5,000,000 for disturbing his peace and another 500,000 for legal expenses. Where is my phone? Let me check how many messages they have sent, I will also sue MTN by Monday.”

A similar post was forwarded to this reporter to fact check the claim 

A WhatsApp user reached out to Dubawa to fact check the claim. The WhatsApp user claimed the message had been posted on another WhatsApp group.

Verification 

A keyword search on Google showed reports referencing a court judgement delivered in February 2020 after Emmanuel Anenih dragged MTN to court in  2014 over unlawful deduction of N50. 

Further checks revealed a two-minute video of the story published by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). According to the NTA report, Emmanuel Anenih had in October 2014 dragged MTN to court for illegal deduction over unsolicited caller tunes. 

It stated that the court action came after various correspondences between the plaintiff and the service provider. It also stated that the court had established, in evidence, that MTN in one of its letters to the plaintiff admitted to the deductions as payment for the unsolicited caller tunes, but went ahead to send what it called “N700 bonus” to the plaintiff for his eight-year patronage after he had complained. 

According to the NTA report, the then Chief Judge of the FCT, Ishaq in his judgement, said the N700 bonus did not amount to a compensation for the breach of the plaintiff’s quiet enjoyment. The judge then ordered MTN to pay N5 million as damages for disrupting the peace of the customer and an additional  N500,000 as cost for the case.

Conclusion 

This fact check concluded that the claim that a Nigerian court ordered MTN to pay one Emmanuel Anenih the sum of N5.5million for unlawfully deducting N50 from his airtime is true. 

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country

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